Washington State Senate introduces bill proposing unemployment insurance benefits for striking workers

Legislators in the Washington State Senate introduced a bill on January 8, 2024, that proposed allowing striking workers to claim unemployment insurance benefits. Washington Senate Bill 5777 passed the Senate Committee on Labor and Commerce on January 16, 2024, and advanced to the Rules Committee on January 17, 2024, for a second reading.

Currently, New York and New Jersey allow certain striking workers to collect unemployment insurance benefits. Other states like California have considered similar policies that would expand unemployment benefit eligibility to striking workers.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

For information about unemployment insurance programs across the country, click here.

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